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I'm neither a birdwatcher nor gardner, I'm just an aminal lover. I work outside across from the Sears/Willis Tower in Chicago where theres the 311 Buidling Park (Jackson side). Chicago has a extremely large pigeon population. In the 311 park you'll find a mix of both pigeons and house sparrows. I'm actually a "sparrows person" but I love and feed the pigeons also. In the past year I've befreinded a number of these birds. There's one non-breeding male LBJ, "little brown job", with one leg. He waits for me every morning until I arrive to the Sears Tower. He comes up to me on the sidewalk, looks up at me and melts my heart as I dig into salflower hearts, bread and popcorn. He sits there patiently until I feed him. I know house sparrows are social and aggresive birds but I don't care about what they say that sparrows as being mean. I feed him and his flock every day at Sears Tower and I feel I've done a great deed. I feed the pigeons also and there's one particular pigeon, "Ozzy", that actually rests upon my kiosk asking to be fed. This is great fun and attracts many future customters....
Lovely story of mouse. For a few years at my last house I had mice in the compost bin. I would remove the lid and the mice - two of them - would be feasting on the latest additions ! They would blink up at me for a couple of seconds before darting away down the corner of the bin. I also had slow worms who loved the heat of the sunny hillside bin. They are so strong - sometimes I would inadvertantly grasp hold of one and it was quite a tussle to hold it long enough to look at ! The people who bought my house moved the bins to another place and carefully moved te slow worms with it.

i don't mind the mice, or even the frogs and taods; although it does make it a bit more interesting when you want to empty. i do draw the line at snakes though! when we started getting those in the bin i'm afraid it had to go; we moved it to my husbands workplace and he now takes a pot in every day, bringing a tub home as and when i need it.

Aw...sweet!  Don't Panic!  It's only a wee sleekit, cowerin', timourous beastie! When I lifted the lid of our compost bin last year, I saw what I first thought were about 6 mice all sitting round a potato on the top, chewing it and sharing their bounty in a very civilised fashion.  Very Beatrix Potter.  Then I thought 'Oo-er - they're a bit big for mice!'..and as they scurried away out of sight, I realised that they were baby rats.  Now that's 'Eek!'

Please everyone learn from my experience!

I've read all the above with great interest. I wish I'd known about the baited plastic bag down the rat hole last year when I observed, through my kitchen window, a youngish rat climbing the bird-feeder pole and getting into the squirrel proof peanut feeder. It was shortly followed by a bigger rat that, after pondering the problem for a few moments - don't underestimate the intelligence of rats - managed to squeeze itself into the nut feeder and also had a binge. I poured rat poison down the rat hole I found and (touch wood) no rats since but sadly no birds as I had to stop putting out the food.

On the subject of mice. In my heart, I loved the cute little brown wood mice (Yellow Necked just like the one in the Gruffalo) that came into our house the winter of 2012. We had them in the cupboard under the bath. Humane mouse traps came out and we caught about ten, one each night. Eventually we thought the same mice were returning, so reluctantly bought some death traps. By the time we counted 30 dead ones we decided on poison which seemed to do the trick - no dead bodies around and nothing taking the baited traps. Over the summer we had our house wiring checked. It cost us three and a half grand for a full rewire due to mouse damage. We've learned our lesson and signed up for a contract with the local council pest control officer.  So reader......beware!

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